Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Poinsettia Cake

I wanted to make a nice dessert for my Christmas Day dinner with my family. My Grandma was in town and she takes an interest in the cakes that I make and I wanted to make an extra special one for her.

The most Christmas-y flower I could think of was a poinsettia. So, I taught myself how to make the flower out of royal icing and am really pleased with how they turned out. I don't think this could have been any more Christmas-y!

I used the cake, which was a carrot cake with cream cheese filling and frosting, as my centerpiece for the meal. Color flow decorated cut-out cookies were the name cards. It was a baker's delight!

The cake was a very nice end to our Christmas meal. I'm happy that I was able to squeeze this one into my busy Christmas celebration. :)

I hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is for Kids

A few months ago, one of my cake gift certificates was put up in a silent auction at Shorewest Realtors that benefitted Christmas is for Kids. The winner, Patty, placed an order almost immediately for a Christmas cake to celebrate with her family.

Patty requested a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream filling and she requested that it "look like a present." Here's what I delivered today!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Little Mermaid

Danielle, Payton's mom, asked me to make a cake for Payton's 3rd birthday party. Evidently, this little soon-to-be 3-year old was a huge fan of Ariel, the Little Mermaid. I was excited to take this cake on as, like I stated in an earlier post, Ariel is my favorite Disney princess!

Danielle requested a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream filling. I decided to cover the cake with more buttercream and use the fondant for fun underwater accents.

The Ariel you see on the top of the cake is a doll I picked up from the toy store. Instead of spending the time molding her out of gum paste, I thought it best to include the toy. It's something Payton can play with for many months to come (and she came with a change of clothes!! What fun!).

I hope that Payton had a wonderful 3rd birthday party! I'm sure Ariel is happy in her new home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread Creations

This time of year is usually a little slow in the "cake department". Many people are filling up on all of the Christmas goodies and cakes are taking a back seat. That's A-OK with me, as I use this time to do other things in the baked goods department.

One of my favorite things to do is make gingerbread houses. I made my very first one last year and fell in love with the process. It was wonderful to share the experience with my daughter and nephew and wanted to do that again this year. But to start out the season, Michael's had me do a Gingerbread House demo in November. The gingerbread house became part of the gingerbread display by the Wilton aisle. Looks good enough to eat!

A few weeks later, my daughter Josie and I made hers. I did all of the piping and she did all of the decorating. She's REALLY proud of her creation!

On St. Nick's Day, I was able to spend the morning with my nephew. He's a pretty big fan of trains and I found this train kit and thought it would make a fun project for us to do. Again, I did the piping, but Connor did ALL of the decorating! (His mom went out and bought some candy coal to put in the tender!)

And then this weekend, I taught a Gingerbread House Workshop at Ben Franklin Crafts. We had a wonderful turn-out with some delightful adults and kids alike. Actually, all of the kids were boys with TONS of creativity. Check out their masterpieces!

This one had a VERY cool Christmas tree on the back!

These boys had a Christmas tree, a penguin in a pond AND an igloo!

Fun trees made out of Tootie Rolls, a snowman made out of StarBursts, and a patio with a GRILL made these houses unique!!!

Wonderful Christmas lights and cheery wreath decorating this home!

Carol added small candies around the windows which made them look stained-glass. She also added "candles" in some of the windows for added whimsy.

I was able to get one done, too, and dropped it off for my mom. :)

Now that the gingerbread houses are done, I'd better get moving on the rest of the holiday baking. Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's funny how moms talk. Every day I pick up Josie from school and the wonderful moms (and dads) stand around and catch up until our kids are released from the classroom. Last week, the topic of conversation was Cake Mama and I got my official first order for one of Josie's classmates, Max. His mom, Sally, wasn't very picky at all. She told me that Max loved cars, ALL cars, and if I could do something with that, she'd be happy. I noticed that Max had a Cars (the Pixar movie) backpack on and asked if he was a fan. Sally nodded vigorously and I said I'd do a Lightening McQueen cake for Max. "Oh! He'd LOVE that!" she said.

I'm not a person that likes to buy a lot of specialty cake pans, but my Elmo and Buzz Lightyear have certainly gotten their use. So, I invested in this one too. It's not the easiest cake, but I sure like the way it turned out. Chocolate cake with buttercream filling and frosting.

I hope that Max has a WONDERFUL birthday (and Happy Thanksgiving!).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Disco Night to Remember

My wonderful friend, Erin, was planning a 70's themed birthday party for her mom, Sheila, and requested a Cake Mama Cake for the event. This cake has been on my to-do list for well-over half a year and ideas have been flowing ever since. Erin sent over a picture of a cake for "inspiration" and I used many of the elements in the design, but the true inspiration for the cake were the plates and napkins. I loved the colors and absolutely loved the dancers.

Erin informed me that she picked up a 4" battery-powered disco ball for the top, so I didn't have to worry about that. But here's the cake:

With the exception of the cake board and dowels inside the cake, everything is edible, either made out of fondant or gum paste or a combination of both. The dancers were cut out by hand and [with the help of my wonderful husband] I was able to download a very 70's themed font for Sheila's name. The gum paste was cut out and then covered in silvery sugar for a disco-y effect.

The top tier was a chocolate cake with buttercream filling and the bottom tier was carrot cake with cream cheese filling (Sheila's favorite!).

The two records on the top of the cake say, "Best of the 60's" (Sheila was turning 60) and "Happy Birthday!".

Here's how the cake looked at its final destination:

The disco ball really makes it dazzle!

I hope that Sheila had a WONDERFUL party! I wish her the happiest birthday!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Three's Company!

My good friend, Jessica, contacted me awhile ago to do the cakes for a BIG birthday party she was planning. It was a combined birthday party for three kids. She really wanted to something special for each one of them and was wondering if I would be willing to make separate cakes for them. Of COURSE! After our brainstorm, she decided that 6-inch cakes and cupcakes should do the trick and more than accomodate the guests at the party. Jessica gave me complete control over design and flavors of the cake and cupcakes. I hope I chose well. :)

The first cake is for a little boy whom I was told absolutely LOVES cars. He loves the movie Cars, but just loves cars in general. His favorite color is yellow.

For his cake, I decided a chocolate cake would be awesome. I filled it with buttercream frosting and some crushed Oreos and also topped the cake with an Oreo road for his Matchbox car, yellow of course! I decorated the cupcakes with street signs and hope that he enjoyed his theme!

The next cake is for a boy who loves Super Heroes! Jessica specifically told me that Captain America and Green Lantern were among his favorites. This one I was really excited to do because my husband's "super power" came in to play. Being such a big fan, he helped me design this one.

The cake is decorated like Captain America's shield and the cupcakes were decorated with the Green Lantern, X-Men, Batman and the Flash's symbols. The cake itself is a red velvet cake with buttercream filling. I thought the red and the white would look cool to cut into for this one.

The last cake is for a girl who loves the color purple and wanted a cake with flowers on it. She totally has my number! I made a marble cake for her and decorated the cake with a basketweave done in buttercream. The purple and blue flowers are made from royal icing.

The bulk of the cupcakes were a cookies and cream recipe. Vanilla batter with TONS of Oreos mixed in. I thought it would be a real kid pleaser!

I hope that the birthday celebration was a fantastic one! It sounded like it was going to be one heck of a party!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pink Pumpkin Cake!

Anne requested a cake for her daughter, Eve's, 1st birthday. She wanted a cake in the shape of a pink pumpkin. I suggested we do a pumpkin cake in the shape of a pumpkin and she thought the idea was a good one. I had a FANTASTIC recipe that I've made once before and still daydream about it. It's a delicious pumpkin cake with a whipped cream and brown sugar frosting. Super moist and super light!

Now, getting the cake into the shape of a pumpkin...that's where I was stumped...but my good cake-decorating friend, Heidi, had done one before and blew my mind when she said you just use two bundt pans, one inverted on top of the other. Duh. (As an aside, almost everything Heidi tells me leads to this response. She's so wise. And thank you again, Heidi!)

Baking the cakes was a cinch and my house smelled absolutely divine. Once the cakes were cooled, I FILLED them with the whipped cream. If I didn't do this, the frosting to cake ratio would have been too dismal.

Added the top tier.

I filled the inside with rice krispie treat to maintain its' shape.

And then I crumb-coated with more whipped cream. I could have stopped right here and the cake was delicious!

But Anne requested a pink pumpkin and a pink pumpkin is what she got!

I made the pumpkin leaves out of gum paste. I used some pink luster dust to add some dimension and shading and added the pink sparkles, per her request.

I hope that Eve had a most excellent 1st birthday party!

Cute as a Baby!

What fun to do this cake again! My client contacted me requesting a baby shower cake for his wife. He requested a moist marble cake with chocolate mousse filling. Yup! I can DO that!

The only issue that I had was (and remember, I'm a from-scratch baker) finding a mousse recipe that DIDN'T have raw eggs in it. I came across Alton Brown's recipe which uses unflavored gelatin as a substitute. I wanted the mom-to-be to be able to enjoy her cake, right?! Anyway, I think the mousse turned out great (I also skipped the alcohol), and paired with the marble cake, it was a delicious combination.

Congrats to the new parents-to-be!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Lorraine requested golf-themed cupcakes for her daughter's golf outing this weekend. They were for the girl's golf team in Oconomowoc and simply had to be gold and purple. I agonized about what to put on top of the cupcakes and thought about fondant golf balls or paper golf balls on toothpicks. I scoured Michael's to try to come up with some ideas and just before I finally headed home, defeated, I stopped by a candy shop downtown Oconomowoc, I saw that they carried basketball, baseball and soccer ball chocolate candies but I wondered if they carried golf balls.

They did!

But they'd be in next week.


The employee asked me what I needed them for and I told her I wanted to put something on top of my cupcakes. She excused herself and ran to the backroom and a few moments later came back with a golf ball candy mold.

AWESOME!!! She made the little white chocolate golf balls especially for this project! I absolutely love the way they turned out!

The cupcakes are chocolate with buttercream filling and frosting with sprinkles and white chocolate golf balls on top. Phew!

I hope Carly has a great event! Thanks for thinking of me!

A Gerbera-Worthy Affair

Lori requested a Cake Mama cake for her son and daughter-in-law's wedding reception. They were married in early September and had a beautiful Colorado ceremony and then had a Wisconsin reception this weekend. Paul and Ryan's wedding cake was a lemon poppyseed cake with cream cheese filling, but I'm told that neither got a piece at their reception last month. So, they requested another.

This was a fun project to take on. I found MANY poppyseed cake recipes and plenty of lemon poppyseed loaves or muffin recipes, but had difficulty finding a lemon poppyseed cake recipe. So, I had to make my own and I hope it turned out well!

I made two, 2-layer sheet cakes for the special occasion. One was decorated with hot pink Gerbera daisies to match the flowers on the table, the other was simply frosted and cut into immediately. Here's how the decorated one turned out. Gotta love those gum paste Gerbera daisies!!

Congrats to Paul and Ryan on their marriage!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

This was a really fun cake to do! I've done a soccer cake before. I've done a rugby cake. And this weekend, I got to do a baseball cake! And I worked on it right as the Brewer's won their game. What a great night and such fantastic inspiration!

Jake's cake is a chocolate cake with cream cheese filling, buttercream frosting and fondant decor. Gotta love the grass tip!

I hope Jake's birthday was fantastic! So much to celebrate!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

On Sunday we celebrated my mom's birthday. A few days early, but in my family, we celebrate birthweeks (my husband prefers to celebrate birthMONTHS...oy!) anyway. Well, we have a trip to Disney World coming up and my mom's favorite Disney character has always been Goofy. So, why not a Goofy cake?

Here she is with two very excited grandchildren!

My mom's favorite cake is poppyseed cake. I'm making two lemon poppyseed cakes this weekend and needed some taste-testers so I thought I'd kill two birds with this one. My family never seems to complain when I do this. I think the cake turned out extremely well! The lemon zest and lemon juice in the cake made it absolutely delicious and moist!

Happy Birthday to you, Mom! Thanks again for all you do for me (and my family)!

I love you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Beautiful Day for a Wedding

Teri was planning a beautiful Fall wedding and asked me to make her wedding cake many, many months ago. Teri and I went to high school together and I could not be happier for her and her lovely new hubby, Michael. The two make an absolutely beautiful couple! I'm INCREDIBLY thankful for Teri's belief and support in me. She asked me to do her wedding cake before I had even done one before. Seriously. I love that!

This week has been a busy, busy week for me. I baked a total of 17 cakes for Teri and Michael's special day. They requested not only a wedding cake, but also a groom's cake to be delivered the day of the wedding. This made for a lot of planning and precise execution!

Here's my staging area. All of the cakes are accounted for:

2 - 6 inch red velvet cakes
3 - 6 inch white cakes
2 - 8 inch chocolate cakes
4 - 8 inch white cakes
4 - 10 inch white cakes
2 - 14 inch white cakes

I also made some more of my raspberry buttercream for half of the wedding cakes and a chocolate ganache for the other half of the wedding cakes. The groom's cake was red velvet filled with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake filled with buttercream.

The wedding cake design was a simple white cake covered with fondant with a geometric design in orange striping and orange flowers. Really elegant.

To keep in line with the elegant orange flowers, Teri and Michael ordered this as their cake topper. Can you even believe how cute they are?

Teri and Michael wanted a Pac-Man themed cake for the groom's cake because I'm told that Ms. Pac-Man played a roll in their first date. Gosh, I love that game! So I found a great picture online that included a "groom" Pac-Man and a "bride" Ms. Pac-Man, veil and all!

With the assistance of my mom (again - THANK YOU!!!), these two cakes were assembled and delivered safely.

Now, onto the rest of their lives! I wish you both all of the happiness in the world!!! Thanks for asking me to be a part of your very special day!

PDSA & ITP Awareness...and CAKE!

On September 24th, 2011 we hosted our 2nd Annual Platelet Disorder Support Association 5K Walk/Run in Oconomowoc, WI. This was yet another fantastic fundraising effort. It's tough to even imagine that all of this would have been possible from that first walk around the lake 3 years ago on Father's Day where my family and I raised $500 for PDSA. That marked PDSA's first EVER fundraising event.

The next year, I helped to raised nearly $8,000 by getting the "right" people involved, which sparked a national outpouring of support including other states hosting their own 5Ks and fundraising events for PDSA. Snowball that into this year where PDSA purchased some new fundraising software and the potential grew exponentially. Not only did we raise over $13,000 this year (and the number continues to rise), other walks throughout the country (and WORLD) have raised funds and awareness as well.

I came across this link just a few days ago and was blown away by the generosity of people. This gentleman, Lance, raised over $50,000 for PDSA earlier this month all because he knew Brian, a kid with ITP, and he wanted to do something about it.

The month of September, again, is recognized as ITP Awareness Month, which just continues to bring even more awareness to the disease. So many people have helped raise awareness of ITP and funds to support PDSA and I couldn't be more appreciative. It's a humbling position to be in when people are so willing to assist and eager to do so. Seriously, I had a couple of "moments" last weekend, just looking around at the crowd that gathered. Knowing we were all there together, for one purpose.

Danny's team from Wells Fargo!

One 14-year old girl, Liz, who has ITP, raised over $1500 and brought 39!!!! people to walk with her. She was on "Team Liz" and her mantra through her disease has been Live, Love, Laugh, Liz. That was the saying on all of the t-shirts her friends and family wore to support her. They were an amazing group of people; so supportive of Liz.

Another 14-year old girl, Emily who also has ITP, raised over $2000. She raised over $1000 last year. Think about that! She's 14!!!

Both of these girls are only teenagers, dealing with a difficult disease that not many people, INCLUDING doctors, fully understand. But this walk/run has given them purpose and an opportunity to do SOMETHING about it, which is exactly why I started the walk 3 years ago. I couldn't heal my Dad, but I AM a planner!

Our medalists!

Our fundraising efforts have been grand this year. Better than I could have imagined. My co-coordinators, Kim, Trudy and myself, asked anyone we could think of to donate gift certificates, tickets and memberships to our raffle. We got a license through the state and raffled off gift baskets that were each worth $750-900 each.

We had the:
Dream Date Deal (gift certificates to about 25 restaurants, a one-year family membership to the Milwaukee County Zoo and a one-year family membership to the Milwaukee Public Museum), the
Sizzling Sports Spectacular (tickets to the Milwaukee Wave, Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Bucks, a Milwaukee Bucks autographed jersey, Milwaukee Brewers goodies and a heart-rate sports monitor), and the
Priceless Packers Package (autographed football with all of the 2011 Super Bowl champs and staff and tickets to the Bishops Charity Event plus other Packers swag).
The raffle alone raised around $2200!!

And we're already planning for next year. Kim has a dream that we'll give away a Disney Vacation next year!! We'll be doing the Dream Date and hopefully the Packers again. But stay tuned for more raffle information. I'm excited to see what we'll come up with for next year. It'll be better than this year, if you can imagine!

Also, Lance, the gentleman in the link I included, has expressed an interest in helping us out with our fundraising efforts next year. Peak Performance, the gym where he trains, has a chain in Hartland, WI. Think of the possibilitities.

And all of this from a little walk around Fowler Lake 3 years ago. And I can't wait to do it again on September 29, 2012.

I love you, Dad!

If you'd like to donate to the Platelet Disorder Support Association, please check out our link here: